Close to Paradise in Bagarello

May 5, 2014 / Places
Bagarello Lombardia

The chickens are roaming around in the garden below the terrace where I am sitting. They must be very happy, if such a concept exists in the chicken mind, doing what they are supposed to do, in peace, not worrying about what might happen in the near future. That said, they might end up as one of Leda’s dishes. Not the worst end for a chicken, to be turned into one of the best meals possible.


Sitting on the terrace in the sun of spring, with a view of the freshly green vineyards on the smooth hills, I feel like those chickens. Nothing worries me, I could sit here for ages, doing nothing, meditating. Well ok, perhaps the wine did help me to get into this state…


The little hamlet of Bagarello has been here for centuries, almost a millennium in fact. The first recorded evidence of a settlement called Bagarellum dates back to 1158… The hamlet has always remained small with a population ranging from about 30 to 80 inhabitants, with the same families here throughout the ages.


The agriturismo where I have chosen to lunch today and on whose terrace I am meditating is owned by the Faravelli family, whose name is the earliest family name in Bagarellum on record. One thousand years of history, and time literally seems to have come to a standstill, at the end of this small rural road. Walking the one single street of the hamlet you see the few houses with traditional flowers in front, some elderly people cleaning their steps, lazy dogs sleeping and cats enjoying a sunbath. Nothing ever seems to happen. The silence is overwhelming.

I am close to paradise.


Stef Smulders

by Stef Smulders

Stef is a Dutch expat now living the dolce vita in the Oltrepò Pavese wine region, an undiscovered Tuscany 50 km south of Milan. 

With husband Nico & dog Joia he runs a B&B Villa I Due Padroni (

Stef has just completed his first book about his experiences in Italy during the first few years (in Dutch).
An English translation will appear later in 2016. Interested? Send me a mail and have a look at my Facebook page.

4 Responses to “Close to Paradise in Bagarello”

  1. stephanie cabell

    The links to contributors’ bios never actually takes one to the bio. Instead, the link goes to another part of the Italian Notebook site that has no bio information on it at all. At least, I have a hard time locating bios on the contributors.

    • GB

      Thanks for pointing that out, Stephanie, working on adding the bio info now. At the moment what you see are all the notes by that contributor. I hope to add the bio info at the top, before the list of their notes.

  2. The silence is overwhelming… what a fitting sentence. Unless one has encountered such moments, the mind cannot understand them nor can the heart comprehend them. It is another reality all together and yes wine can help get us there from time to time.
    Great article.

  3. M. Bernadette Higgins

    My first trip to Italy in October of 2013 was to Rome and Tuscany. Since returning home, the desire of my heart is to return and explore every town, village and hamlet that I am reading about in “Notes”. I look forward each day to getting it in order to bring me back to the magic that is the Italy that I love.


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